PNB fraud: Accused Choksi says impossible to return to India, cites health concerns

Choksi said his passport was suspended because he was considered a "security threat to India".
PNB fraud: Accused Choksi says impossible to return to India, cites health concerns
PNB fraud: Accused Choksi says impossible to return to India, cites health concerns
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Gitanjali Group promoter Mehul Choksi, accused of involvement in the Rs 12,600 crore fraud against the Punjab National Bank (PNB), has said it was "impossible" for him to return to India, citing health reasons and suspension of his passport.

In a March 7 dated letter emailed to the CBI, one of the lead agencies probing the alleged fraud, Choksi criticised the investigation process, alleging gross abuse law that had caused prejudice against him, his family and businesses.

Choksi was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation to appear before it on March 7.

He said he was travelling "abroad for my business" and had embarked on the journey before the probe agency filed an FIR against him.

"I wish to bring to your kind attention that your good self and your office is well aware that my passport has been suspended," he wrote in a seven-page letter in response to an emailed notice to the businessman.

He said his passport was suspended because he was considered a "security threat to India".

He had written an e-mail to the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai, requesting them to restore his passport but had not received any reply.

"It is impossible for me to travel back to India. I further wish to point out that the Regional Passport Office Mumbai has not given me any explanation as to why my passport has been suspended and as to how I am a security threat to India."

Choksi said he was also "concerned about my health and well-being" because he feared he would be arrested and denied medical treatment at a hospital of his choice.

"I would not be able to get proper health care and would be provided treatment only in a government hospital. A person accused of an offence who is behind prison is denied a doctor of his own choice."

The absconding businessmen said "my persisting health problem" won't let him travel for another four to six months.

"I had a cardiac procedure which was conducted in the first week of February 2018 and there is still pending work to be done on the same. The entire procedure could not be completed on all veins due to danger to kidney and therefore I am not allowed to travel for at least a period of four to six months."

He said the seizure of his assets, bank accounts and the shutting down of all his offices in India had affected his business and caused prejudice against him.

"There has been a gross abuse of process of law by the investigating agencies. It is in the interest of justice that I be granted an opportunity to have a free and fair trial. However, the investigating agencies are acting with a pre-determined mind which is hampering the process of law and interfering with the course of justice."

He said the media and investigating agencies had roped in his family members "with a view to prejudice me ... harass me.

"The media is conducting a trial by itself and is blowing each and every issue out of proportion and is exaggerating allegations and this has left me completely defenceless.

"Multiple investigating agencies are after my life and the CBI has seized my office servers and I have no record of my business dealings. I am further being deprived of my basic right to communicate and the seizure of my servers have effectively denied me my fundamental right to defend myself against the allegations.

"I wish to bring to your notice and attention that I have been rendered defenceless. All the documents that were lying in my offices have been seized by the investigating agencies.

"My properties, both moveable and immovable, have been seized and/or attached. The investigating agencies have sealed my showrooms and have seized the stock lying in the showrooms and have termed the same as 'proceeds of crime'. Despite these seizures, the CBI has not placed on judicial record the seizure memo as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure."

He said he was continuing to work outside India and considering the "difficulties" his business had faced, he requested the CBI to communicate with him on his yahoo email ID or his advocate Sanjay Abbot "in respect of any issues which you consider is needed to be addressed to me concerning the investigation".

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